#OTalk 26th September 2017 – Recognition and OT.

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “Recognition and OT” and will be hosted by Jen Gash (@OTcoachUK) as part of the OT Show Team.

Here is what Jen had to say…

2017 has been a great year for occupational therapy in the UK: we have had the professions centenary celebrations ; the second part of the “Value of OT” project has been launched; there has been increased media coverage with OT’s getting on national TV, radio and other media too; and we have seen continued growth of OT’s working in diverse and emergent roles. Occupational therapy continues to be reported as one of the top careers with great job satisfaction, so we have much to celebrate.

In its third year, the OT Show Awards seek to celebrate and showcase grassroots occupational therapy practice in the UK. To me, these awards are about:

  • shining a light on practice that doesn’t often get seen, such as OTs who beaver away with little recognition or reward
  • showcasing OT staff who work may not be recognized by other organisations or structures e.g. early stage innovations, informal ‘research’ and perhaps emergent and quirky things too!
  • showing value beyond traditional measures of value such as saving money etc. Whose says what is of value anyway?
  • acknowledging how much we value service user contributions and of course OTTI’s/OTA’s as part of our OT team

This year the nomination process has been simplified and the award categories are:

  • Outstanding OTTI/OTA/Service User Contribution Award
  • Outstanding Occupational Therapist Award
  • Outstanding Occupational Therapy Leadership and Innovation Award

When I speak with OTs, they often find it difficult to see how amazing their work is. They find it much harder to shout about it and celebrate their practice. Other professions, other work sectors, don’t seem to feel this way. Hopefully this chat will be a good way to encourage more OTs to apply for an award or nominate someone they know.

The questions for discussion tonight are maybe a little contentious.

  1. I often feel OTs hid their light under a bushel e.g. they work away and don’t show how amazing they are. Do you agree?

2. As a caring profession, do we find “showing off” somehow distasteful or is a confidence thing or is there something else going on?

3. What makes OT practice outstanding?

4. What do you think the future of OT will see us doing, say in 30 years time?

5, If you had the resources, backing and time, what OT project or innovation would you set up?


#OTalk 19th September – Digital Occupations and Smartphone Apps

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of digital occupations and smartphone apps within occupational therapy will be hosted by Rebecca Crouch (@RebeccaCrouch).

 Here is what Rebecca had to say…

 The past decade has experienced a rapid development and adoption of digital technologies, which have changed the way people live and carry out their daily activities (Gretton and Honeyman, 2016). Figures show that 66 per cent of British adults own a smartphone and, with it, opportunities to participate and engage in meaningful digital occupations (Verdonck and Ryan, 2008; Ofcom, 2015).

Occupational therapists work with people to improve their health, wellbeing and ability to participate in meaningful and purposeful activities of daily living (Hills et al., 2016). As smartphones are increasingly used by the public, service user participation in meaningful and purposeful occupations could include the use of inbuilt features or downloadable smartphone apps. Diamantis (2013) suggests that digital occupations are being overlooked by occupational therapists as they are not considered as traditional occupations. Diamantis (2013) believes them to be an essential part of everyday life that should not be dismissed. This sentiment is echoed by opinion pieces published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, which call for all occupational therapists to take advantage of the opportunities offered by mainstream technology (Verdonck and Ryan, 2008), and more specifically, of smartphones apps (Stow and England, 2016).

 From personal experiences, I have found smartphone apps helpful in managing my physical and emotional wellbeing. As these apps enable a variety of meaningful digital occupations for myself, I would like to explore your perception of digital occupations, along with your experiences of smartphone app use in your personal life, at your place of work, and their potential use in a therapeutic context with service users.

Questions to consider:

  1. What is your understanding of digital occupations?
  2. Do you think digital occupations can be used to support both your health and wellbeing, and that of your service users?
  3. In your personal life, do you use any smartphone apps to support your health, wellbeing or ability to participate in meaningful and purposeful occupations?
  4. What are the benefits and barriers of using these smartphone apps?
  5. At your place of work, do you use any smartphone apps to support your ability to participate in work-based occupations?
  6. What are the benefits and barriers of using these smartphone apps?
  7. At your place of work, do you consider the digital occupations of your service users?
  8. Are there any smartphone apps available which could support the strengths and needs of your service users?
  9. What do you consider to be the benefits and barriers of using smartphone apps with service users?
  10. What support would you need if you were considering smartphone app use with service users?


Diamantis A (2013) Broadening the horizon of occupation in paediatric practice: A challenge. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy 76(6): 253-253.

Hills C, Ryan S, Smith DR et al. (2016) Occupational therapy students’ technology skills: Are generation Y ready for 21st century practice? Australian Journal of Occupational Therapy 63, 391-398.

Gretton C and Honeyman M (2016) The digital revolution: eight technologies that will change health and care. Available at: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/articles/eight-technologies-will-change-health-and-care (accessed on 29 May 2017).

Ofcom (2015) The UK is now a smartphone society. Available at: http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2015/cmr-uk-2015/ (accessed on 28 May 2017).

Stow J and England S (2016) The rise if inclusive mainstream technology: Implications for occupational therapists. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy 79(8): 457-458.

Verdonck MC and Ryan S (2008) Mainstream technology as an occupational therapy tool: Technophobe or technogeek? The British Journal of Occupational Therapy 71(6): 253-256.

Verdonck MC and Maye F (2015) Enhancing occupational performance in the virtual context using smart technology. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy 79(6): 385-390.


#OTalk 12th September – Practice Placement Education

This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of “Practice Placement Education: Engaging with people, investing in relationships – a collaborative problem solving venture” and will be hosted by Maureen Shiells of the RCOT (@MMShiells).

Here’s what Maureen had to say…

I’ve been working at the Royal College now for three years as education manager responsible for pre-registration occupational therapy education.  Always a fan of education and growth at all levels, my previous post at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde was in practice development for qualified occupational therapists. I’m fascinated by the learning journey and how (I hope) it never ends.

None of us are strangers to the changes in the way health, social care and education provision are being delivered right across the UK, and beyond. Education reforms, constraints on national budgets for health and social care, the increasing need to work differently and creatively to deliver robust educational experience for our student occupational therapy population is clear. We need to ensure that our newly qualified occupational workforce is competent, capable and ready to take on their new career with confidence.

With that – and you – in mind, this OTalk will focus on practice education for student occupational therapists, in particular on the placement experience and arrangements for both students and educators. Practice based education makes up a third of the occupational therapy degree programme which constitutes a significant chunk of learning. Involvement in delivering and receiving practice education is rewarding, fun, sometimes challenging, and hard work, but being involved also makes a huge contribution towards continuing professional development (Ellis & Tempest 2016).  As members and guardians of the profession, it is our duty as registered healthcare professionals to devote time and expertise in supporting our students to become occupational therapists of the future. So with over 37,000 registered occupational therapists in the UK (and approx. 5,500 students in education at any one time), why is it often difficult to secure placement opportunities?

This OTalk will build on work already underway to investigate how we at The Royal College can lead the change in the way practice education is supported and developed to meet the needs of today’s students, educators and the ever changing health and social care landscape. Of course we also embrace non-traditional placement education and are keen to address how role emerging and diverse placement opportunities can provide an excellent opportunity to grow into the role of an occupational therapist (RCOT 2017).

Using Tanmay Vora’s Social Mindset theory, our aim is to seek and engage talent in all corners of our profession in order to; reduce barriers to communication, encourage collaborative problem solving and create empowerment among our communities by engaging in virtual conversations via email and social media (Vora 2017).

Don’t be alarmed however, we also do face-to-face conversations when we can!

As a result of the feedback received so far from people who have been involved in the work, we have created an action plan which broadly covers the following points, which I hope to discuss during this Tweetchat;

  1. What are the main ingredients for a successful practice educator/student/HEI relationship?
  2. How can we improve the consistency in the quality of the student experience?
  3. What type of resources can help to support practice education?
  4. What are the enablers for practice educators to offer student placements?
  5. What are the barriers and how can we overcome these?

We look forward to welcoming a range of stakeholders to the Tweetchat, including students, practice educators, academics, service users , other healthcare professionals and any interested parties.


Ellis and Tempest (2016) Practice Placement Education: The ultimate learning opportunity? OTnews Available at https://www.joomag.com/magazine/occupational-therapy-news-october-2016/0726852001476272133?short accessed on 23/8/17

RCOT (2017) An investigation into occupational therapy practice education across the UK. Available at https://www.rcot.co.uk/practice-resources/students/practice-education accessed on 23/08/17

Vora T. (2017) Social MIndset: A key to engaging people. Available at http://qaspire.com/2017/05/08/social-mindset-a-key-to-engaging-talent/ accessed on 23/08/17


Online Transcript

The Numbers

2.456 M Impressions
1,088 Tweets
90 Participants
870 Avg Tweets/Hour
12 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk Research – Tuesday 5th September – Engaging occupational therapists in and with research

September’s #OTalk will feed into the Research and Development Review being undertaken by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists with the particular aim of considering how we encourage qualified occupational therapists to engage in and with research to boost the professions’ capacity for research.

The chat will be co-hosted by @TheRCOT and @JoWatson22. It will be supported by @preston_jenny from the #OTalk Research team.

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists has launched a substantial review of its research and development activity. This is no small task and will involve undertaking a bit of a ‘journey’ over the next 12-18 months, the outcome of which will be a revised RCOT Vision, Strategy and Action Plan for Research and Development. As you can imagine, there is a great deal to consider, and this is where we need your help.

We know that there is a lot of great research going on that is both undertaken by occupational therapists and informs occupational therapy practice, so there is a lot to celebrate as the image below suggests.
However, we also know that we still have a long way to go to develop a really strong evidence base to underpin the broad spread of our practice and robustly demonstrate the effectiveness of our interventions and the value that occupational therapy brings to the lives of individuals, groups and communities. One way to try to speed up the rate of progress is to increase the professions’ capacity for research, or the number of occupational therapists who are engaged in or with research. That’s what we’d like to chat with you about during tonight’s #OTalk.

The questions forming the basis of our discussion are:

  1. What does engaging in or with research mean to you?
  2. To what extent do you think engaging with research is, could or should be core to the practice of all occupational therapists?
  3. Research engagement takes many forms. What tangible things can you do to demonstrate involvement on a spectrum or range of levels?
  4. How receptive is the culture of your workplace to engagement with research?
  5. What would make the biggest difference to supporting and enabling more occupational therapists to engage with research at some level?

We are really looking to hearing all of your thoughts and ideas, which will be a very welcome contribution to the RCOT Research and Development Review. If you get a chance ahead of the #OTalk session, it would be really helpful if you could give some particular thought to the types of practical activities that you could do to engage in or with research. We’d really love to hear all of the creative ideas that you can come up with so that we can use as examples them to inspire others.

Thank you.

Post chat

Online Transcript

The Numbers
3.717M Impressions
961 Tweets
72 Participants
769 Avg Tweets/Hour
13 Avg Tweets/Participant


#OTalk Participants

#OTalk 29th August 2017 – Assessing Toileting.

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “Assessing toileting” and will be hosted by Kate Sheehan (@TheOTService).

Here is what Kate had to say…

I have long been fascinated with toilets, how they are designed, manufactured and how we use them. Going to the toilet has been the butt of many a joke but no one person completes this activity the same way; we are influenced by our culture, our faith and from those who teach us to use them. So the key question this week is how do we assess this complex task?

Are we confident as therapists to really break down the task and work with our clients to make this a task that they can become independent at, or do we just skim over it as it can be an embracing problem to address?

I am hoping that this will be an opportunity to share in 140 characters or less, your thoughts and ideas. This topic is for everyone, regardless of area of practice, because we all need to empty our bowels and our physical and mental health depends on it.  

The objective of this chat is for participants to share their thoughts on how to assess toileting as a complex occupation and give consideration to:

  1. How do you assess toileting?
  2. Do we need to physically observe?
  3. How can we modify the technique?
  4. How can we influence designers to design toilets that work?

Post Chat

On line transcript

The Numbers
918.946K Impressions
238 Tweets
27 Participants
190 Avg Tweets/Hour
9 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk 22nd August 2017 – Occupational Therapy and Digital Care Records

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “Occupational Therapy and Digital Care Records – Help or Hinderance?” and will be hosted by Paul Sugarhood (@PaulSugarhood).

 Here is what Paul had to say…

I am an occupational therapist currently working in education and research at London South Bank University, having spent many years in clinical practice in the NHS in east London. One topic that colleagues often talked (perhaps complained?) about was clinical documentation: the amount of time it takes, various mixes of paper and digital records, and wondering whether much of what was documented was ever used for anything.

Digital care records (DCRs) have been positioned as essential in promoting quality, safety, standardization and integration of care, and reducing duplication, inefficiency and fragmentation (Department of Health, 2008, 2012). The National Information Board (NIB) is the senior advisory group charged with developing strategy and priorities for data and technology across the health and social care system. It has set the specific target that “all patient and care records will be digital, real-time and interoperable by 2020” (NIB, 2014).

This target is repeated in the Sustainability and Transformation Plans that aim to deliver the Five Year Forward View (NHS England, 2016). According to the quick guide for digital, success in 2020 will be demonstrated when:

Patient information is recorded once, digitally, at or close to the point of care…Information is digital (paper-free) and flows between primary, secondary and social care providers seamlessly…Patient information at the point of care is available digitally (irrespective of where it was recorded), on a secure, timely and accessible basis…[and] Transfers, referrals, bookings, orders, results, alerts, notices and clinical communications are passed digitally between organisations” (NHS England, 2016).

This ambitious vision is matched in occupational therapy in the publication Managing information: a 10-year strategic vision for occupational therapy informatics (COT, 2014). The vision emphasises the fundamental importance of DCRs as the underpinning of most information flows for service users. Recommendations are made for development of DCRs so they facilitate integrated and seamless recording of referrals, assessments, care planning, interventions, outcomes and discharges (COT, 2014).

However, there are indications of a significant gap between vision/policy and the real world of occupational therapy practice. A UK-wide survey identified that nearly half of occupational therapists do not have access to DCRs, and nearly one third have no regular access to computers at work (National Allied Health Professionals Informatics Strategy Taskforce 2014, cited in COT, 2015). Occupational therapists complain of duplication of effort and inaccessible data within and across organisations: “The…example given, in which a member of staff was rushing around recording information in multiple systems, is no doubt something which will resonate with many occupational therapists” (COTIM, 2016).

A systematic review by Greenhalgh et al. (2009) concluded “that even though secondary work (audit, research, billing) may be made more efficient [by DCRs], primary clinical work may be made less efficient.” I have attended multidisciplinary team meetings where we needed to log onto three different systems to access client records: the GP with the primary care system, the community health staff with a (different) community system, and the social worker with the Local Authority system. Even then, we did not have access to what happened at the local hospital, which used yet another system. The same client’s information recorded in 4 different DCRs!

Suggested discussion questions and talking points for this tweet chat are:

  • How do you use digital care records, and to what purposes?
  • Do digital care records reduce duplication and inefficiency? How?
  • What are the impacts of digital care records on communication and collaboration between health and social care professionals?
  • Do digital care records promote safety and standardization? How?
  • Are your work practices shaped by digital care records, or are you able to shape the records to match your practices?
  • How do you work around digital care records if/when they do not support your practice?



COT (2014) Managing information: a 10-year strategic vision for occupational therapy informatics. London: COT.

COT (2015) Managing information: implementation plan 2015-2025. London: COT.

COTIM (2016) Newsletter. Issue 205, 22 November 2016. Available at: https://www.cot.co.uk/ehealth-information-management/cotim-newsletter [Accessed 6 January 2017].

Department of Health (2008) The NHS informatics review report. London: Stationery Office.

Department of Health (2012) Digital strategy: leading the culture change in health and care. London: Stationery Office.

Greenhalgh, T., Potts, H., Wong, G., Bark, P., Swinglehurst, D. (2009) Tensions and paradoxes in electronic patient record research: a systematic review using the meta-narrative method. The Milbank Quarterly 87 (4), pp. 729-88.

National Information Board (2014) Personalised health and care 2020: using data and technology to transform outcomes for patients and citizens. London: Stationery Office.

NHS England (2016) Sustainability and transformation plans. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/futurenhs/deliver-forward-view/stp/ [Accessed 6 January 2017].

Post Chat

Online Transcript

The Numbers

775.690K Impressions
245 Tweets
27 Participants
196 Avg Tweets/Hour
9 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk 15th August 2017 – Stroke and Executive Dysfunction

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “Stroke and Executive Dysfunction” and will be hosted by Charlie Chung and members of the Stroke Forum committee, RCOT Neurological Specialist Section (@chungsongyau and @OTstrokeSSNP).

 Here is what they had to say…

 We are the Stroke Forum committee of the Specialist Section Neurological Practice and for our session, we wondered how case study work would look on OTalk.

The questions this week relate to Jane, a lady with stroke and executive dysfunction. We hope that this will be an opportunity to share ideas freely, but in 140 characters or less, of course! Even if your practice does not include working with people with stroke, executive dysfunction is experienced by many people with a range of conditions and we would love to hear from you, too.

Executive function (EF) is a series of inter-related cognitive processes that we need for responding to novel, difficult, complex or dangerous situations. Impairment of executive function (executive dysfunction (ED)) is a frequent consequence of stroke and often limits people’s ability to adapt to their new situation, reducing their participation in occupation.

 The Case Study

‘Jane is 72 years old and she was discharged home from the acute stroke unit following a 10 day admission with a left hemisphere partial anterior circulatory syndrome stroke. She experienced a right sided weakness and word finding difficulties. Both improved daily and at the time of her return home, she was walking distances of 50 metres with a stick and was able to participate in conversations with only occasional difficulties finding words. 

During the first two weeks at home, Jane received visits from the early supported discharge team who worked with her to establish a daily regimen of exercises and ensured that she was participating in her necessary activities of daily living (ADL). The service was discontinued when it was clear that Jane was independent with ADL.

All seemed okay over the next two months until a referral was received by the community rehabilitation team from Jane’s GP. Her husband had made an appointment which he had accompanied her to. He explained that although Jane had the ability, she was not completing ADL when he was not at home. She was leaving dishes unwashed and was often not washing and dressing. When out together, she avoided paying for items in shops and remained dependent on her husband to do this. Supermarket shopping was a particular challenge as Jane would put items in the trolley which were unrelated to their meal plan or on their list’

 The objective of this session is for participants to share their thoughts on how to work with Jane, and more information will be provided with each question.

  1. What do you understand about executive function?
  2. How has Jane’s executive function been affected by the stroke?
  3. What Occupational Therapy interventions would you suggest?
  4. What further knowledge about executive function do you feel you need?

Post Chat

online transcript

The Numbers

1.602M Impressions
643 Tweets
61 Participants
514 Avg Tweets/Hour
11 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants